Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans full movie review - Doc Seems Disjointed & Has Technical Issues
Unfortunately, this documentary came across to me as disjointed, somewhat tedious, and had some annoying technical issues.
For example, one technical issue was the lettering showing who the interviewees were on screen, plus the wording for background information on the film, were extremely small, forcing me to constantly use my remote zoom, which can get quite annoying. Another issue was that the subtitles, at times, didn't match what was being said on the screen.
The documentary centers on the extremely troubled movie production of "Le Mans", in 1970, with production led by superstar Steve McQueen, He had a tremendous passion for racing, and had just finished second in the 12 Hour Sebring Race, with driving partner Peter Revson.
McQueen wanted 'Le Mans" to be his "piece de resistance", where he would pour his heart and soul into the making of the movie, which would combine actual footage of the 24 Hour Le Mans Race with sequences shot away from the race, but using real race drivers,
However, the making of the film was plagued by numerous problems, which included tragic accidents, lack of a script of any kind, ego clashes with some of McQueen's former collaborators including director John Sturges and writer Alan Trustman, McQueen's numerous on-set affairs which would eventually lead to the end of his first marriage to Neile Adams, and high budget production overruns.
All of this would result in McQueen's production partners Cinema Center Films taking control of the set and forcing McQueen to take an acting role only. Eventually, the movie would be released in 1971, to mixed reviews from pro critics with some calling it poetic while others were not so kind. From what I could garner, the film did poorly at the box office, but has now become somewhat of a cult classic.
The documentary is directed by Gabriel Clarke and John McKenna, and to note, for those that are sensitive to such, it does contain explicit language laced throughout the film.
Overall, I thought the movie was somewhat interesting, despite its technical and editing problems. Although the film certainly implies that McQueen's ego and intransigence were the main culprits, the effect on McQueen was profound when his "passion project" was pulled from his control, as he abandoned his interest in racing and per his first wife Neile "saw the world in a different color" thereafter. McQueen would die in 1980, at the age of 50, from a rare form of lung cancer, asbestos poisoning,with asbestos later found in the racing suits of drivers in his era.